Vote-switching in South Africa: exploring the motivations of voters who switched from the ACDP and COPE to the DA in the 2011 local government election
This study explores the motivations of voters who chose to switch their vote or support from the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Congress of the People (COPE) to another opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the 2011 local government election. The study was informed by a qualitative research approach. Accordingly, an interview schedule was utilized as a research tool. This schedule contained questions prepared in order to acquire the necessary insight of voters who previously supported the ACDP and COPE (in the 2009 general elections) and moved to the DA in the 2011 local government election. In addition, interviews were conducted with party representatives from the ACDP and COPE in order to gain further insights into their perceptions of the key reasons for their party’s poor performance in this election. Popkin’s integrated theory is used as a basis to make sense of the behaviour and movement of voters during the 2011 local government election. Popkin (1991) argues that voters utilise low-information rationality or “gut-reasoning” when evaluating political parties, their candidates and the issues they present. As will be shown throughout this thesis, Popkin’s approach, where voters combine various sets of information obtained through daily life, the media and political campaigns, best explains the dynamics in the research findings. Based on the research findings, it appears that Popkin’s approach is the most useful for understanding the reasons for the voter migration to the DA in the 2011 election.